Organized by: Melissa Liu
Event Name: Women Startup Challenge
Our mission is to bring engineering and technology literacy to all kids and inspire a more diverse next generation of technology creators. Imagine every child having a conceptual understanding of the technology that drives our world. Imagine a more varied set of kids thinking of themselves as people who "like engineering." We aim to make that a reality.
Melissa Liu, Founder and CEO. BS Computer Engineering; MBA. Long-time business owner, management consultant, executive PM, former Engineer and Engineering Manager. Along with engineering experience and passion, she brings experience engaging kids in engineering concepts, plus business acumen, leadership, and vision.
Ellen Hardy, Founder and VP Product Development. Educational publishing consultant and attorney who has worked in educational publishing for over 16 years. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the K-12 education market, online and print publishing, and best practices for curriculum and lesson plans that make complex topics approachable, relevant to kids, and fun.
Our product vision is an online destination with content, videos, activities, quizzes and games, supported by hands-on elements including a bimonthly magazine and project kits. The hands-on elements are designed to reconnect kids back to the core content on the website and engage kids in current topics in engineering and technology. The revenue model is a tiered subscription, with the basic tier including the full online content and magazine, with separate purchasable elements such as project kits.
STEM is a high-profile topic in K-12, but Technology and Engineering are often uncomfortable topics in schools compared to more traditional topics of Science and Math. There are lots of single-engineering-topic sites, DIY and “maker” projects, but no great kids’ sites that holistically address engineering or give it meaning in the context of kids’ daily lives. Except ours. We have a conceptual framework for engineering and computing, along with a lesson strategy to make the content usable in a classroom or at home. Visit our site at www.2025labskids.com.
Our target market is all kids in the US aged 7-14, potentially reachable through elementary and middle schools, after-school programs, and parents, roughly 27.8 million kids. Our goal is to reach 0.5% of these students over the next 5 years, with at least 50% of these students coming from schools that are low-income/Title I schools. In the parent market, our goal is to provide free access to one child in need for every user that pays (similar to “Tom’s Shoes”), so we have our 50% goal tied directly into our business model. For 2015, we are piloting projects and content with schools and enrichment programs, and approaching commercial availability for parts of the planned content.
We are frugally run and comfortably self-funded for the foreseeable future, with low annual fixed costs, and incremental variable costs for 2015, reflecting investments in accelerating development of online content, videos, games, kits, etc. At the request of an ed-tech incubator, we have recently done a detailed, very defensible revenue forecast for the next five years, which we are happy to share at our in-person pitch in Washington, D.C. on June 30th. We are very early in revenue collection, forecasting modest revenue for 2016, increasing along a few different possible growth trajectories.
CALL TO ACTION:
We need a more diverse group of engineers. Stereotypes about engineers lead some kids to feel they would not belong. Research shows that exposure to information about the nature of engineering work and engineering careers increases the likelihood that both girls and boys would consider a future in engineering; the way to combat stereotypes is to actually introduce kids to engineering.
We also need to develop technology literacy in all kids, regardless of their future career choices, because technology is increasingly driving our world. An informed citizenry will help ensure that we pursue the right technological advances for a healthy, sustainable world.
Like us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/2025Labs
Visit our parent site at: www.2025labs.com
Visit our kids' site at: www.2025labskids.com